One of the most widely spread sport fish is the trout. Trout and it’s relatives can be caught in springs, rivers, or lakes across North America, Europe, and many other continents. The trout most commonly found in North America are Lake, Rainbow and Speckled which is also known as Brook Trout. Trout are found in a wide variety of water conditions and plentiful in most regions.
A Brief Biology
Trout are a very colourful fish which largely reflects the conditions in which they live. The lake trout is shiny almost silver in colour and can be found in large deep freshwater lakes where the water temperature is around 50 degrees Fahrenheit or 10 degrees Celsius and at depths of 50′ to 200′. Lake trout can grow to be nearly 65lbs in size and often will be found in schools at the deeper depths. They can be caught by trolling or ice fishing.
Rainbow trout are from the salmonid species which means they return to their original place of birth to spawn after spending several years at sea in salt water. Their bright pink, blue and silver colours are unique among most freshwater fish in Canada and the United States. Steelheads which are related to Rainbow trout are also from the salmonid species but grow to a much larger size and have slightly different spawning habits. All trout typically breed very early in the spring for several months before returning to their regular habitat. Rainbow trout will grow to 18″ in length and roughly 2 1/2lbs.
Speckled or Brook Trout prefer quiet shaded areas in streams near fallen trees or behind rocks where the water is cool and has lots of protection. These fish are a golden brown with white or silver rings which resemble spots or speckles. Like other trout, Speckled Trout spawn early in the spring. Speckled Trout also prefer cooler waters and can be found in streams and rivers with clear water but at shallower depths. Speckled trout also known as “brookies” will grow to roughly 12″ in length and weigh about 2lbs when fully grown.
All trout are voracious eaters. They will eat almost anything they can catch including other fish, insects, shrimp, frogs, mice, and even their own young. Salmon eggs are popular bait for trout in shallow waters near shore. Perch are also popular with lake trout as the sizable schools created by this smaller pan fish provide a plentiful dinner and often inhabit the same waters as the large trout. Trout will often travel in large schools making it even more exciting to fish.
Trout Lures and Bait
Different kinds of trout require different methods to catch them. Lake Trout are caught by trolling lures and bait at depths of 50′ to 200′ where the summer water temperature is nice and cool. In winter, lake trout can be caught by ice fishing using the jigging technique. When a school is located the success rate can be quite high as many fish will likely be in that area.
Lures that are silver, gold, multi-coloured or resemble the colours of other trout are good choices. Rapala make several deep diving realistic looking lures and the Williams Warbler is all well suited for this fish. Due to the depth the lure must work at, a larger flashing area with a relatively small hook is a good choice. A general rule of thumb is “The deeper the lure will be fished at, the larger it should be”. A cannon ball type trolling system is very effective at getting the lures down to the required depth and keeping it there. A sonar type fish finder is also very useful in locating schools of trout deep below the surface.
Rainbow and Speckled Trout are often found in streams, rivers and lakes close to shore. They can be caught by casting using light-weight 4 to 8lb test line. Fly fishing is a very popular method to catch these fish close to shore. There are many different styles of fly fishing lures or “flies” as they are known created just for trout. Fly tying is an art unto itself with many different and distinct styles being created over the years that resemble everything from a mosquito to a bumble bee. Almost any small spinner or spoon that looks like a moth or insect is good to use. Mepps #1 spinners with black and yellow or, silver, pink and blue blades are very popular. Bait such as fresh small worms or frogs can also be successful. Even small marshmallows or corn kernels will work if the trout are feeding heavily.
Trout are typically an oily, yet tasty fish, high in healthy Omega 3 fatty acids. They can be cooked many different ways and are often served battered and fried or with lemon and dill sauce. There are many recipes available on the internet for the different kinds of trout to suit your taste. Due to the relatively small size of rainbow or speckled trout several of them are required to make a meal for an average sized family. The great demand for trout (and salmon) caused many species to be grown in farms across the globe and sold in markets. However, there is starting to be some debate as to whether the farmed trout and salmon are any healthier to eat than wild. Even though trout can be found in large schools, responsible fishing is to be encouraged to ensure a bountiful supply of fish for future generations.
A Legendary Fish
Trout is one of the legendary fish that have fed humans for years. Their bright colours and appetites continue to amaze. They also bring to mind lazy afternoons of sitting on the shore line of a quiet stream somewhere casting away or maybe walking out into the river in hip waders to try and catch the school that is just a little too far from shore. No matter how you fish for them or where you go to do it, trout are simply a great fish to catch.
Copyright 2019 Mike Wilson